The Fatal Flaw in China’s Plan for Dominating the World Economy

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Dependence is baked into China’s industrial plans—and will likely fail. Chinese premier Li Keqiang recently delivered a remarkably revealing speech. Milton Ezrati The National Interest Addressing the National People’s Congress for two full hours early in March, he stressed the county’s determination to rely on broad industrial policies as a means to development. The objective, to use Li’s words, is to “speed up work to build China into a leader in manufacturing.” Li doubtless wanted his audience and the world ... Read More »

Malcolm Fraser’s ‘white farmers’ prophecy is now a reality

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A year before he died in 2015, former prime minister Malcolm Fraser agreed to meet me at his Melbourne office to discuss Australia’s treatment of sea-borne refugees. Rob Burgess The New Daily The cruelties of the offshore detention system, he said, made it look, “from outside Australia … as if the white Australia policy battles are still raging”. There was no way, he said, that a boatload of “white South African farmers would be treated that way if they sailed ... Read More »

An American Imam Talks Islam and Money

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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf came to America as a child, and learned that prosperity presented its own religious riddles. WealthSimple Feisal Abdul Rauf is a longtime Imam, public intellectual and the author of numerous books about Islam’s place in the West, including What’s Right With Islam is What’s Right with America. There’s a passage in the Bible that says it is more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a ... Read More »

End the Weaponisation of Water in Central Asia

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Four Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – have argued over their water resources since the collapse of the Soviet Union. At times these disputes have seemed to threaten war. The forthcoming presidential summit in Astana can help banish that spectre. Alina Dalbaeva ICG On 15-16 March there is a landmark opportunity to promote peace and prosperity in Central Asia when the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana. It ... Read More »

Articulate US teenagers could finally force action on gun control

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On Wednesday in the US, thousands of students left their classrooms in a national day of action designed to force political change on gun crime. George Rennie The Conversation Following the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, this walkout is part of an extraordinary national movement. Young people across the US are doing what countless others have tried and failed to do: using grassroots strategies to take on the powerful gun lobby. The US has an epidemic of ... Read More »

Slovenian PM resigns over court ruling on referendum

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Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar tendered his resignation March 14 after a court annulled the result of a referendum in the latest blow to his crisis-hit government, months ahead of planned elections. Hurriyet LJUBLJANA – Agence France-Presse “The forces of the past do not allow us to work for future generations,” Cerar told a press conference. “I am tendering my resignation.” Earlier March 14 the constitutional court invalidated the result of a referendum which approved a flagship government infrastructure project ... Read More »

Rivals for Authority in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan

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The prevailing calm in Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan’s remote east does not rule out the prospect of a clash between local powerbrokers and Dushanbe authorities. ICG To mitigate the risks of a local flare-up and regional power rivalry, China and Russia should communicate with each other and nudge President Rahmon toward a smooth transition of power. What’s new? The Tajik government’s control of its eastern territory, Gorno-Badakhshan, is tenuous at best. Irregulars loyal to local powerbrokers known as the Authorities have ... Read More »

The 2018 Turkey Regress Report

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The European Commission is due to publish its next progress report on Turkey in April 2018. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe This standard procedure is meant to outline how candidate countries have advanced in aligning with the EU’s political and technical criteria for accession and to chart their paths forward. Yet, in Turkey’s case, a massive deterioration of the rule of law makes it impossible to acknowledge any progress. Instead, the commission’s forthcoming report is bound to illustrate a substantial regression. ... Read More »

Why virtual reality cannot match the real thing

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Suppose you were offered the opportunity to hook yourself up to a machine that would give you all the experiences you desire. Janna Thompson The Conversation Using this technology you could have the sensations of climbing Mt Everest, enjoying great sex with a good looking partner or visiting the Taj Mahal. The philosopher Robert Nozick used the idea of an “experience machine” to refute the view that good experiences are all we want from life. He thought that most of ... Read More »

The woman asking the hard questions at the banking royal commission

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Rowena Orr, QC, one of two silks assisting the landmark banking royal commission headed by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, offered a blunt assessment of the task confronting the inquiry on Monday. Michaela Whitbourn The Sydney Morning Herald “The terms of reference … are broad and the time to report is short,” Orr told Hayne in Melbourne. “We embrace the challenge involved in assisting you.” Orr and her fellow counsel assisting the commission – Brisbane-based silk Michael Hodge, QC, and junior ... Read More »

#NeverAgain: do student protests work? History tells us they can

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When 17 students and teachers were murdered on what should have been a peaceful school day, students across the US took to the streets to demand change. Claire Cooke The Conversation The outpouring of protests in the wake of the tragic mass-shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year is an important reminder that students can challenge the status quo. The #NeverAgain movement, led by high-school and college students, is asking for gun reform in the US to improve safety in ... Read More »

Jordan’s New Regional Role

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It is significant for a Syrian opposition member to take a photo with a top American official. Maria Dubovikova and Shehab Al-Makahleh International Policy Digest When the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a meeting in Jordan’s capital, Amman, with the head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, and an accompanying delegation on February 14, the photo, which went viral, signaled how Jordan is set to play a major role in the outcome of ongoing conflicts in the… Indeed, the ... Read More »

Religious freedom must not be a green light to discriminate

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As it ponders the role of religious freedom in Australia, the Religious Freedom Review headed by Philip Ruddock would do well to reflect on the real-life scenarios where belief collides with the rights of individuals. Hugh Harris The Canberra Times Should independent schools be able to expel students with gay parents? Should it be lawful for bakers, photographers or florists to refuse same-sex weddings? Yes? No? And why? Providing answers would provide clarity as to the consequences of any proposed ... Read More »

The problem record immigration is supposed to solve doesn’t exist

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Population is “the everything issue”. It affects all aspects of public policy and our daily lives. William Bourke Brisbane Times It is essential to get population policy right if we are to achieve critical public policy outcomes like secure jobs, affordable housing, better planning and a sustainable environment. That is not to say that it is the only reform required in order to achieve these outcomes, but trying to achieve these goals while engineering record population growth is like walking up ... Read More »

Would you choose a partner based on their ‘citizen score’?

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Imagine if everything you did on Facebook or Twitter counted towards a government-imposed ‘citizen score’. Jessica Bown BBC All your online behaviour would be analysed and assessed to come up with a measure of your online reputation, character and trustworthiness. This could then be used by employers to decide whether to offer you a job, by banks to decide whether to give you a loan, or even by prospective partners. Well, China is planning something like this called the Social ... Read More »

After Kenya’s Leaders Reconcile, a Tough Path Ahead

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The meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga was an important step toward ending the protracted crisis over last year’s disputed election. To build on the progress, consensus is required on concrete steps that can help safeguard against future polarisation and violence.​ ICG I. Overview The meeting on 9 March 2018 between Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga was as unanticipated as it is significant. In their joint statement issued after the talks, they promised ... Read More »